On Monday 26th June, the Parliamentary Labour Party will discuss the order of possible Labour private members bills.
If you have a Labour MP, please ask them to attend this Parliamentary Labour Party discussion and support Margaret Greenwood’s NHS Bill as the one to be allocated to the Labour MP who comes highest in the ballot for Private Members Bills.
This ballot for the 2017-18 parliamentary session will be held on Thursday 29 June in Committee Room 10 and will be available to watch online on Parliament live.
The Ballot Bills have the best chance of becoming law, as they get priority for the limited amount of debating time available. Normally, the first seven ballot Bills are most likely to get a day’s debate. The first reading (formal presentation – no debate) of ballot Bills takes place on the fifth sitting Wednesday of a parliamentary session.
This call to Labour MPs is backed by the authors of the NHS Bill, Prof Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick, on behalf of the Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill, supported by Health Campaigns Together, Keep Our NHS Public and the Socialist Health Association.
When you contact your Labour MP, please tell them that the NHS Reinstatement Bill will stop and reverse NHS privatisation, nationalise social care and integrate it with NHS care. It is the only proposal on the table that will prevent the dismantling of the NHS, which is already well underway.
This week NHS England have begun imposing a form of rationing – the Capped Expenditure Process – that forces the NHS to offer a very restricted range of services within a tightly fixed budget.
This is part of the deliberate attempt to create a two tier health system, by turning the NHS into a UK version of the US medicare/medicaid system that provides “accountable care” – in other words, predetermined treatment options based on financial considerations.
This denies doctors and patients the basic right to decide between them what care is best. It deskills doctors, who will be largely replaced by less skilled Physician Associates.
Accountable Care in the USA is for patients who are too poor or too ill to get private health insurance. In the UK its restrictions are designed to drive patients who can afford it, to go private – often while staying within the NHS, as the 2012 Health and Social Care Act allows hospital trusts to earn 49% of their income from private patients.
Increasingly NHS hospitals are running private wards in partnership with private companies – since 2012 the number of private patient units operated by NHS hospital trusts has doubled, from 44 to 91.
These NHS private patient units include the American company Healthcare Technologies International’s Nova Healthcare ward in the Bexley Wing of the St. James’s Institute of Oncology in Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London will earn 45% of its income from private patients and other non-NHS sources this financial year. It is likely to breach the 49% limit on private patients’ income soon and a trust document suggests at this point it may hive off some of its facilities as a separate private entity or leave the NHS, in which case it would still treat NHS patients but as a private contractor.
The Times quotes Shadow Health Secretary John Ashworth as saying,
“This is yet more alarming evidence of a two-tier system in the NHS.
“Ministers need to urgently reassure us that hospitals built up through decades of investment by the NHS are not in danger of becoming private, profit-making institutions.”
The Labour Manifesto announced the Labour Party’s commitment to stopping and reversing NHS privatisation. The NHS Bill is the only piece of legislation on the table that will do this.
So please ask your Labour MP to do what you elected them to do, and tell them you want them to support Margaret Greenwood’s NHS Bill as the one to be allocated to the Labour MP who comes highest in the ballot for Private Members Bills.
The re-tabling of the Bill by the Labour MP who comes highest in the Private Members’ Ballot on Thursday, and a clear and strong statement at the time of the NHS’s anniversary around 5th July, are needed to show that the Labour Party is committed to reinstating it.